“Yay! Mongol Rally! We are going to kick arse. Doesn’t even matter that we met on Twitter cause we will totally make it!” Oh, we made so many ridiculous statements and had many over-the-top-unrealistic visions of what the Mongol Rally would be like. It was crazy. Seriously. As if Ellen is going to want to interview us. Pffft! (thankfully I wasn’t the one suggesting this bit of ridiculousness)
The excitement surrounding the rally was intoxicating, and in no time the journey turned into a self-absorbed obsession. And yes, I am just as guilty as my teammate in this regard. It. Was. Sad.
I partially blame my TBS. I’m a blogger. I was going to do the Mongol Rally. I needed to blog the crap out of that sucker and reap the rewards. I was on fire! We planned adventures, we joked about the possibility of being arrested, and I overextended myself by making too many blog and freelance commitments. Oy.
The realities of the rally were significantly different. She was disappointed that our instant click didn’t happen the day we met in Prague, and I somehow felt the need to try and force the click. It didn’t work. Like not at all.
Roughly 80% of our time together was filled with tension. I had wanted adventure, and I thought she did as well. As it turns out once the rally started she was more concerned about borders and staying on track. The Mongol Rally turned into a point a to point b road trip where you only stop for gas, food, and a chance to sleep.
This was NOT how I wanted to do the Mongol Rally, and when we discovered a visa issue (her transit visa for Turkmenistan would end the day before I could pick up my Uzbekistan visa in Ashgabat) while sitting on the ferry in Turkmenistan everything came to a head. I was being left behind and given the option to find my own way to Kazakhstan to meet her, or to pack it in and go home.
If I had been having an amazing trip at that point I would have tried to get to Kazakhstan. I chose to end my journey. If I could be left behind in Turkmenistan (where there is no international banking and almost no internet), I could be left behind again in Kazakhstan, Russia, or the wilderness of Mongolia.
Dealing with Failure
Dealing with the aftermath of a failed Mongol Rally attempt was harder than I thought. I wrote a little about it, but truth be told, the very mention of the rally made me angry. Everything I had hoped this once-in-a-lifetime trip would be, failed. Everything. I didn’t see any of the things I really wanted to see. I had very few fun moments. And worst of all, I felt like I had let down my sponsors and you guys, my readers.
Once I was back home I jumped from anger to a fierce desire to show everyone I COULD do the rally and finish it. I said I’d do the rally again in 2013, but then I remembered all the hard work I had done for the rally in 2012 and I decided I needed a break. Plus there was the fact that I had blocked all of my former teammate’s feeds because just seeing her name made me angry. Pathetic, right?!
I was clearly not ready to take on the Mongol Rally again.
When an opportunity came along in March of this year to write about my Mongol Rally experience for Outpost Magazine, I was excited. Until I started writing. As I started writing I was surprised by how much anger I was still harbouring against my former teammate and failed rally adventure, and it took 8 drafts and almost a month for me to write the article. When I finally submitted my 3,000+ word article I gave the editors full permission to cut whatever they wanted because, “This was the only way I could write the story, and put closure to my experience”.
Deciding to Travel for the RIGHT Reasons
I love this quote…
“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson
After eleven months I am happy to say that I am FINALLY over the Anger phase, and I am barreling into the Start Again phase!
It. Feels. Great.
Adventures like the Mongol Rally are not about elevating yourself so everyone can see you. It’s about challenging you, discovering more about the places you’re going, embracing ridiculousness, and making the most of every single moment. And that is why I am 90% (I’m commitment-phobic) sure that I WILL make another Mongol Rally attempt in 2014. Gulp.
This run will be very different from 2012. I’ll be seeking out sponsors, but I’ll be making fundraising attempts through my local communities, rather than trying to do it online. I’ll be sharing my adventures through social media and this blog, but I know now that I cannot commit myself to writing a bunch of blog posts on the road. Deadlines + the Mongol Rally = Unnecessary stress.
My second Mongol Rally attempt has nothing to do with my wanting to be awesome, and everything to do with my wanting to see and experience places I have dreamed of visiting for years. It’s about being ridiculous and making new crazy friends. I know my route already, but I’m not ready to share it yet. I’ve made a 90% commitment and as soon as I commit to the remaining 10% I will share ALL of my plans, hopes, and dreams.
I cannot begin to tell you how good this feels. Doing something because you’re passionate about it (not lustfully excited) makes all the difference in the world. Yes, the rally is expensive and I need more than the $5 that is currently in my bank account, but I can make it happen. Passion is power.
Did I mention I am finally in a good place, and this feels really, really good?
The importance of travelling for the right reasons is something we should all strive to do, it’s something I’ll be doing in the future.